A blessing for today

Mary Hess Posted by Mary Hess, Professor of Educational Leadership, Luther Seminary.


This morning I woke up to the deaths of multiple police officers in Dallas.

This morning I woke up to the deaths of multiple police officers in Dallas. This constant drumbeat of violence is making it hard for me to fight off despair. As a white person I have been able to avoid this pain for a long time, the privileges I carry insulating me. But I am trying very hard to stay open and present, to perceive what is going on through the eyes and hearts and pain of all those whom my faith declares ARE my neighbors.

I find John O’Donohue’s prayers powerful, and this morning I’m returning to one he wrote as a blessing “for an interim time.” Perhaps for those of us who carry conferred dominance, this might be an interim time as we struggle to awaken:

When near the end of the day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,
No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been or what might come.
In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of dark.
You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.
The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.
“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”
You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.
Everyone has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.
As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow your confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.
What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.